Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 2: Saint-Lô — Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

We are still in Normandy, in the district Manche. What many of us call The English channel, is La Manche in France. It is unthinkabe that the French should call sea outside the French coast as something like “The English …”.

Mark Cavendish is back on track, winning the first stage and starting in yellow today. But I do not think he will keep it after today’s stage. It is an uphill finish. Not a reali climb, but still too hard for the typical sprinters. And there may be some time differences after this stage.

TdF2016_02

Vi can start with a beer today too. Brasserie Eldorado is in Cherbourg. It seems to be a brew pub, but I do not have much information on this brewery or their beers.

Normany is known for producing apples. A lot goes into producing cidre, a fermented apple juice. I have bought cidre several times when Tour de France has been in this area. But after having given cidre several chances, I must admit: Cidre is not my favorite drink. But give it a chance, and let your taste decide. And remember that there are many types oc cidre.

A lot of fermented apple juice is destilled into apple brandy, and the most faomous apple brandy is Calvados. Calvados is apple brandy from Calvados, It is not a generic term for apple brandy, just as cognac is brandy from Cognac, and champagne is sparkling wine from Champagne.

I do not drink much hard liquer. But I like a glass of calvados from time to time. If I drink a glass of Calvados, I will have to wait until the stage is finished, as I do not drink hard liquer during the day.

The production areas for Calvados are shown on the map below.

Just as grapes are not just grapes, apples are not just apples. They are growing more than 200 sorts of apples in the production areas for calvados, and it is not uncommon one producer of calvados uses more than 100 varieties in their production.

There are three different AOP-areas in Calvados. AOP calvados is the large of the three. The two others are AOP calvados Pays d’Auge and AOP calvados Domfrontais.

Part of today’s stage goes in AOP Calvados.

In AOP calvados Pays d’Auge the rules are stricter than in AOP calvados. One of the requirements is double destilling in alembic pot stills, but in  AOP calvados one can use a more industrialised prccess, with distiling in one column..

In Domfrontais there is a long tradidtion for grwoing pears. AOP calvados Domfrontais shall have at least 30% pear, and shall be aged for at least three years in oak barrels. It gives a fruity calvados.

Calvados must be aged for at least two years on oak barrel before it is bottled and sold. But it is often aged much longer. A lot of the calvados sold are blends from various vintages, and probably also various producers. If an age is stated on the label, it must be the age of the younges calvados in the blend.

Other labelings are also used. These are:

  • “Fine”, “Trois étoiles ***”, “Trois pommes”— at least two years ol.
  • “Vieux”, “Réserve”— at least three years old.
  • “V.O.” “VO”, “Vieille Réserve”, “V.S.O.P.” “VSOP”— at least four years old.
  • “Extra”, “X.O.” “XO”, “Napoléon”, “Hors d’Age” “Age Inconnu”— at least six years old, but they are often much older.

A younger calvados is more fruity. An aged calvados get mor the character of an aged brandy.

One can also get “single” calvados, and in particularly good years, it may be sold as vintage.

Another speciality is Pommeau. This is a drink made by mixing apple juice and Calvados. It is blended to a strength of 17%. It is stored on oak barrels for 30 months. It is used as aperitif, to cheese and to dessert, The production started in the 1970s, inspired by Pineau des Charentes, which is a blend of cognac and grape juice..

Tour de France 2016

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